10/05/06 — Aycock has 58 fairs under his belt ... and counting

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Aycock has 58 fairs under his belt ... and counting

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on October 5, 2006 1:49 PM

For 58 years, the Wayne County fair has had its share of givens.

There are always going to be pigs and a market steer show -- and there have always been plenty of crops and home-baked goodies.

And Charles "Bud" Aycock has always been there -- all 58 years as a visitor and the last 30 as one of the fair's most loyal staff members.

The 83-year-old Pikeville resident said when he first started going to the fair, he would come and go, but that ended when he started work.

Now, he is at the fairgrounds from dawn to dusk.

"I help the manager of the fair, whatever he needs me to do," Aycock said. "If he needs something out yonder, I'll go get it. If he needs to go somewhere, I carry him on the golf cart."

He usually gets to the fairgrounds about 8 a.m. and leaves in the early evening -- usually around 8 p.m. He even spends his breaks at the fair, enjoying lunch at the booths.

Aycock used to drive himself to the fair, but doesn't trust his night driving skills as much anymore. So, these days, he goes with his first cousin's wife. "Then I catch a ride home with somebody," he said.

And working for 30 years at the fair has its perks.

Aycock has been around for quite a few pie contest -- once even trying his own hand at baking.

"I like all the different categories of pies," he said. "In fact, I have entered the contest. I baked an apple pie one year and beat all these women. I got ashamed of myself and didn't do it again."

He is also no stranger in the livestock competition, either -- or on the midway.

He showed animals for many years, and in his younger days, he used to take a turn on the rides.

Aycock said the best thing about the fair for him is the people.

Over the years, he has seen many changes. He remembers when the pavilion was built. "And there's been a new office and a new horse barn," he said. "There's been improvements on all the other buildings."

Aycock has also seen the fair grow over the years with record numbers of people attending.

"It's the biggest thing of the year east of Raleigh," he said. "It means a whole lot to me. I feel like I've helped build it."

Fair director Milton Ingram said Aycock is a fixture at the fair these days.

"But last year, he was in intensive care," Ingram said. "We all just got by the best we could, but we all missed him. One of the reasons we've got such a crowd this year is because he's back and everybody's come to see him."

Ingram said Aycock was at the fair long before he started.

"I've been on the board 40 years now," he said. "And he was helping with the fair long before I got on the board."

These days, Ingram said he does not know what he would do without the fair's best worker.

"He's my main man. He rides me around on the golf cart. Anytime I have to deal with any situation, Mr. Bud is with me," he said. "He's well known in the fair industry and everybody loves Mr. Bud."